This chapter explores some of the historical foundations of human rights which explain why rights have been considered limited in radical utility, but also returns to other less dominant histories of rights which demonstrate that human rights are not necessarily tied to the discourses. Considering the historico-theoretical development of rights, it is clear how discourses of liberalism, capitalism, internationalism and statism have come to define dominant understandings of human rights today and have rendered the discourse a not immediately obvious tool of use in radical thought and activism. Human rights have been suspended, denied to certain populations, even utilised to justify violent military action in the interests of political, economic and class power. Human rights have long been considered an essentially contested concept which is open to appropriation, and alternative readings of the histories of rights have been advanced as gesturing towards some form of radicalism in human rights.